Moving After Retirement: Is It Right for You?

Thinking about moving after retirement? Discover insights to help you make an informed choice. Embrace a fresh beginning. Learn more.

Retirement + Aging in Place
September 17, 2023
Moving After Retirement: Is It Right for You?

Updated Jan 31, 2024

We’re connected to our homes by a combination of necessity, preference, and habit. And for many of us, careers are another major influence on where we live, keeping us in one location for years or even decades. As you enter retirement, you’re not only parting ways with the 9–5 schedule but also freeing yourself from the need to live near a workplace or business network. But even if you’re already working from home, retirement can mean letting go of living within country borders or with the connectivity or home office space that might have previously been a must. 

Instead, you can choose where you want to make a home based on what’s important to you –– climate, culture, family, cost of living, and more. But just because you’re retired doesn’t mean that moving will be the right choice. There are myriad factors to consider when determining if you should move after retirement, from financial limitations to personal strains. Keeping these in mind, let’s explore the pros and cons of moving after retirement. 

The Pros and Cons of Relocating After Retirement

First things first: Is moving after retirement right for you? While there are benefits and costs on either side of the equation, it’s crucial that you consider the personal advantages and disadvantages to ensure you end up in the right place during your retirement years –– whether that’s across the globe or somewhere in the United States. 

Advantages of Moving After Retirement

It’s not uncommon to want some change of scenery after retirement. In fact, roughly 234,000 Americans retired to a different state in 2022, not counting those who instead chose to hit the open road or enjoy their retirement in a far-flung destination.1 But apart from putting a few miles on your soul there are other reasons to move after retirement, including: 

  • Savings if you move to a location with a lower cost of living and housing prices
  • Mental stimulation that comes from discovering a new place
  • The chance to shake up habits and behaviors for the better
  • Opportunity to enjoy sights and experience activities you’ve put off

Challenges and Considerations to Keep in Mind

You’ll want to gather your resources and take it step by step if you’re navigating how to plan for retirement. Consider the following requirements needed to make your post-retirement move a success: 

  • Money to move and get established in a new place, which can cost as much as $12,000 depending on your chosen locale2
  • Energy to sell and move out of your current home (then create a new one)
  • Effort to build a new friend network and daily schedule
  • Patience and preparation to ensure you’re connected to new health care and other social security benefits (if necessary)

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Choosing Your Retirement Destination

Whether it’s a community soaked in the Phoenix sunshine or a cabin in the mountains of Montana, retirement presents an opportunity to turn the dream of living in an idyllic destination into a reality. Was there a vacation spot you fell in love with in South Carolina? Did you grow up in Fort Worth and now miss your hometown? Are your grandchildren growing up 1,000 miles away? Choosing where to retire is an important decision, so take the time to ensure your chosen location is just right. 

Exploring Different Locations

If you’ve lived in one place for many years, there are likely certain constants that you don’t give a thought to –– like driving on the right side of the road or salting the sidewalk in the winter. But while you’ll still likely be able to find a Starbucks in any of the locations on your wish list, you may want to look into: 

  • Culture, entertainment, and activities that align with your interests, like nearby pickleball courts or a local arts scene 
  • The type of wildlife and pests you may interact with
  • The highs, lows, humidity, and air quality you can handle based on your health and personal preferences
  • Public systems such as libraries or community education that you enjoy
  • The availability and proximity of parks, recreation, and green areas

Factors Influencing Your Choice of Destination

Florida may come to mind as a popular retirement destination, and there are concrete reasons why seniors flock to the land of flamingos. In addition to its warm weather, beaches, and entertainment venues, the state offers: 

  • Zero tax on income including retirement benefits
  • No inheritance or estate taxes
  • Community (more than 40% of the population is over 50)3

But Florida isn’t the only state that favors retirees. When you’re comparing possible destinations, look at: 

  • Tax rates on types of retirement income
  • Availability of health care
  • Presence of 55+ living retirement community options as well as transitional and assisted living 
  • Cost of living
  • Average home prices or rental rates
  • Transportation availability and costs

Keep in mind that some of these factors are state- or country-specific, but many vary based on community size and location: whether you’re in a rural area, small town, suburb, or big city of the United States. 

Financial Implications of Relocation

When you weigh the pros and cons of moving after retirement, money will likely be among the top considerations. It can go in either direction –– if you move to a desirable coastal town, big city, or resort-level senior retirement community, you may need to stretch your budget to cover higher monthly bills. On the other hand, you can keep costs low by moving to a less populated area, a state with a tax structure that benefits seniors, or a town that balances available services with a lower cost of living. 

Cost of Living Comparisons

In June 2023, a half-gallon of milk would’ve cost you $2.56 in New York City versus $1.20 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.4 In other words, the amount it takes to cover your monthly costs –– groceries, gas, utilities, etc. –– can more than double based on location. 

In theory, when you move to a high-cost area, the increased cost of living is tempered by a bump in salary. On a fixed retirement income, however, it’s critical to take prices into account, ensuring the retirement you’ve planned for is still the one you can expect.  

For a clearer idea of your anticipated expenses in different cities versus your current locale, crunch the numbers using a cost of living calculator.5 This will not only help you decide on a retirement destination but may also help you determine whether moving after retirement is right for you. 

Selling vs. Renting Your Current Home

Your home is likely one of your most valuable investments, but selling your property isn’t the only way to see a return. If you’re like many retiring Americans, you may be asking: Should I sell or rent my house when I retire? The answer will vary from person to person, as there are both benefits and disadvantages of renting. On the plus side, renting can: 

  • Provide an income source if your home is paid off
  • Bring in more profit later if you expect your home value to increase
  • Allow you to return home if you opt for a temporary move or plan to divide your time between two locations 

Silver linings, however, come with clouds. Renting can also: 

  • Include the hassle and headaches of being a landlord
  • Erode potential income if you pay for a property management service
  • Lower your property value through tenant damage or vacancy

If you have experience with rental homes and someone you trust in mind to manage your property, you might lean toward renting instead of a sale. In this case, renting a home can be a great move when financially planning for retirement. Either way, be sure to do the math carefully before making a decision, taking into consideration: 

  • Impact on your cash flow
  • Need for immediate capital for travel or medical expenses
  • Time, energy, and cost involved in property management
  • Current state of real estate and rental markets 

Emotional and Social Aspects

Leaving behind a work life that has shaped a portion of your identity can be a major adjustment. And even if you’ve been saving and looking forward to your golden years, that much change can take some getting used to. Just as with your physical and financial health, plan on taking care of your emotional health as you navigate this transition –– preserving your existing relationships while also forging new ones. 

Building a New Social Network

Starting from scratch may be daunting, but with effort and intention, you can build a support system no matter where you decide to plant new roots. Plan to: 

  • Join classes and groups based on activities you enjoy 
  • Research senior and community center and network offerings
  • Ask about resources through the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in the new location6
  • Introduce yourself to neighbors after moving to a new home

Maintaining Relationships from Afar

No matter where you are in the world, there’s never been a better time to stay connected virtually, be it through online meeting platforms you can use at no cost old-school methods like phone, mail, and email. To tend to your pre-move relationships, you may want to: 

  • Schedule regular times to connect virtually with each friend and family group
  • Create text groups for quick updates
  • Plan visits in advance to fit everyone’s schedules and budgets
  • See who is interested in exchanging letters and postcards

Practical Steps to a Successful Move

Finding a new place to settle can take a fair deal of time and energy, but the move is where the real work begins. This effort will likely be worth it, however, and the decision of moving after retirement shouldn’t come down to the exhaustion of a potential move. Just take it one small step (or drawer) at a time: 

  • Keep the communication open with everyone involved in the move
  • Download moving schedule and chore templates to help capture the to-dos
  • Assign dates and ownership to tasks to stay on schedule
  • Keep a notebook handy to write down questions and issues as they arise
  • Ask for help from family and friends
  • Hire a moving company to help take your belongings to your retirement relocation

Downsizing and Decluttering

For many, retirement is a time to downsize –– and not just to make moving easier. With children out of the house and the need for a home office in the rearview, you’ll likely need less space and therefore have less room for your belongings. 

There are several popular methods of organizing and reducing your belongings, many requiring a bit of introspection. Have you used an item in the last year? Is it in line with your values? Does it bring you joy? Ask yourself these questions as you attempt to declutter and simplify your belongings.

As you proceed, ponder the following pathways: 

  • Gifting heirlooms now to family and friends who will cherish them
  • Donating items to those who can use them
  • Converting documents and photos to digital records to save space
  • Thinking critically about the total usable space of your new home

Navigating the Logistics of the Move

Even with ample preparation and careful consideration, moves can be tricky to time right. After preparing to list and show your home, you’ll still need the energy to handle the packing, closing, and moving end of the to-do list. 

Truehold's sale-leaseback can reduce your chore list and provide maximum flexibility as you plan your new adventure. Instead of the weeks or months of work and uncertainty from a traditional sale, you can expedite a sale closing directly with us, unlocking your wealth and using your home equity for retirement

The “leaseback” part of sale-leaseback means that you’ll be able to take your time before moving out –– whether that’s an extra few months or several years  –– by remaining in your home as a renter. 

After closing, we’ll handle the cost and work of essential maintenance and repairs, property tax, and homeowner’s insurance. That frees you up to focus on your dreams, take your time deciding on what to do with your belongings, and move exactly when you’re ready to go.

When you’re ready to review the process and see if Truehold's sale-leaseback option fits your financial picture and goals, connect with one of our expert advisors


  1. AARP. Top 5 States Where Retirees Are Moving.
  2. How Much Does an International Move Cost? 
  3. USAFacts. Our Changing Population: Florida.
  4. Top 10 Most & Least Expensive States for Grocery Shopping in the US.
  5. Sperling’s Best Places. 2023 Cost of Living Calculator.
  6. Eldercare Locator by the Administration on Aging (AoA). Area Agencies on Aging.

Lucas Grohn headshot
Written by
Lucas Grohn
Senior Manager of Sales at Truehold - A Thought-Leader in Real Estate
Lucas Grohn brings over a decade of real estate expertise to his role, where he guides a team dedicated to innovative sales strategies. Known for his thought leadership and diverse experience, from managing brokerage operations to training agents at top firms, Lucas covers a broad span of real estate content for Truehold.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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